@MarDixon Passionate about culture internationally. Run remixing events, workshops, create solutions, and an international speaker. Over sharer and Mom who loses arguments to a teen. Projects created: @CultureThemes @lovetheatreday @AskaCurator @MuseumSelfieDay @TeensInMuseums @52museums
  • A Year in Review 2014 – Includes: world trending, #wearabletech, and more!

    December 15th, 2014mardixonCulture, International, Personal

    This post is a combination of a ‘year in review’ and a ‘brain dump of thoughts’.  It’s a good and positive – well that’s how I see it, I’m sure one or two might find a fault or two and that’ ok!

    #MuseumSelfie & Other World Trending Things
    AskACurator-until_Sept14-lowresYes, I realize the irony of this but who knew it was going to be so popular?  It’s been requested that I run it again so mark your calendar for January 21 2015! There was A LOT of press about going viral.  And recently had a shoutout in this New York Times article.  Follow @CultureThemes and @MuseumSelfieDay

    On the same page, see #AskACurator, #MuseumWeek & #LoveTheatre which also went world trending and will be repeated again in 2015.  Never under-estimate the importance of social media in this fast pace digital/tech world.

    Wearable Technology
    IMG_0421This is the one that museums and other culture venues are starting to cautiously explore.  It’s been a joy working with a few companies who are helping museums acknowledge, if not embrace wearable technology and see that it’s not as scary as first thought.  I know I sound like a broken record but the cultural sector has a chance to grow with this technology instead of chasing tails as was done with smartphones.

    There is some fascinating work with Google Glass happening in museums now.  Oculus Rift, Smartwatches (and the Apple Watch is set to explode that market) and iBeacons should be on museums’ radar also.  And of course we can’t have an honest conversation about wearable without mentioning biometrics and data protection.

    My main statement remains:  Many believe wearable tech to be evil but there are amazing case studies related to accessibility and we musnt’t blur our opinion from what the media is telling us.  If Google Glass was a startup I truly believe it wouldn’t have half the grief it has been handed.

    Little plug:  I’m running a Wearable Tech Panel at MuseumNext 2015 Geneva.  I’ll be joined on the international panel with: Mark Macleod (The Infirmary University of Worcester UK), Sensum, Antenna Lab and Ryan Dodge from Royal Ontario Museum.

    Credit: Ludvig

    Credit: Ludvig

    New Community (The UnNamed Museum Movement that is growing)
    Once again MuseomixUK ran a wonderful production (this time at Derby Silk Mill) with people from different countries, sectors, background and experience.  I’ve been thinking about how the energy from our community can be expanded and ‘used more wisely’.  It’s still in the drawing board stages, but if you’re interested in getting involved, please sign up for our mailing list.

    Part of the idea is to have CPD (continued professional development) for our community.  We have curators, fabrication, digital, tech, communication skills set but we want to have our communication and curators have a go at 3D printing and our 3D printers and tech people to learn about curation.

    Sign this Petition!

    • Funding
    • Crowdsourcing
    • Petition
    • Cultural Value
    • Cuts

    keepyourcoinsOk, this sounds negative and it’s not my intention. Lately I’m asked to promote, share, sign more and more petitions due to council cuts or other issues. Sadly, they are almost competing for signatures which surely can’t be a good thing for the sector as a whole.  Instead of asking for signatures, please explain what makes your venue special and different – it’ll help with the cause.

    This also brings up the topics of cultural value, ethics and more.  I recently found myself in a debate on the ethics of funding from the likes of BP and others that many don’t agree with.  Whether I agree or not isn’t the point, the point is where is the money going to come from when people are convinced BP (et al) isn’t required?

    Edit to add:  After yet ANOTHER discussion on twitter I need to stress how vital it is that the depth of the current cuts needs to be shared – we need to be honest with the public the government, the decision makers.  My argument is that it can be done in a positive way.  Our society has been dealing with cuts on libraries, cuts on NHS, cuts on culture.  We’re numb! Don’t give us gloom and doom – give us a reason to be advocates!  Give decision makers reasons to FIND THE MONEY. 

    A Challenge to Case Studies
    We are brilliant with sharing – go us!  One little thing that would help tremendously is a statement or two on how the case study could be made scalability to fit smaller and foreign exhibitions.

    IMG_8638I can’t mention a year in review without mentioning the amazing trip I had to Russia this year with Anna Mikhaylova.  In three weeks I visited St Petersburg, Peterhof, Moscow and Vyborg.  We spoke at conferences, put on workshops (wearable tech and a MuseomixUK Russia workshop).  I learned so much of their wonderful culture and more importantly made lovely friends.  While I have only learned a few words of Russia, they made me feel incredible welcome with their fabulous English.  I had tours of museums and met museum Directors.  It was and is a highlight that I shall never forget.

    This trip also allowed me to see how much we have in common. Museum people are the same worldwide 🙂 

    There has been a lot of ups and down for many people in 2014.  It is not always easy, but we must try to remain focused on the positives and not let the negatives pull us and our community down.  I have the honor of working across a few sectors and everyone is hurting.  Everyone is looking for ways to keep their audiences.  Everyone is hurt financially.  But museums and the cultural sector have a fabulous bond that is incredibly strong.  Social media teams share, digital teams share, curators share, market share, front of house share.  Let’s keep that sharing going!

    And as my husband always says ‘At least we’re still above ground’ – we still have time to make positive changes.

    Edit to Add:  Read this report from the fabulous Colleen Dilly on changes that can be made and why it’s important!


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